Year 8 Science students at Foyle College have just heard they will be taking part in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Rocket Science Experiment.
The RHS Rocket Science project, in partnership with the UK Space Agency, is a UK-wide experiment and a fun, interactive way to get students thinking about how plants might grow in space and understanding the difficulties of living, growing and eating in space.
In September, two kilogrammes of rocket seeds were flown to the International Space Station on Soyuz 44S, to be held in microgravity for six months, with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake taking charge of them while on the ISS for his Principia mission, starting in December.
The seeds will return to earth in April 2016 and Foyle College is one of 10,000 schools to receive 100 seeds, to be grown alongside seeds that have not been to space, to see if there are any differences. No one at Foyle College will know which have been to space and which have not.
Students will care for the seedlings, record their growth and observations over seven weeks and record results on a database, which will be collated and analysed by professional statisticians. Leading scientists from the RHS and European Space Agency will interpret the results and draw possible conclusions, publishing their results on the RHS Campaign for School Gardening website.
The hope is that their experience with Rocket Science will encourage pupils to be involved in growing plants and inspire them to find out more about careers in STEM subjects, including horticulture, plant science and the space industry.
To find out more about Rocket Science before the seeds arrive at Foyle College, visit the RHS Rocket Science Webpage https://schoolgardening.rhs.org.uk/Competitions/Rocket-Science-Experiment-Overview
Track the ISS online at http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/#.VgLAf8tVhBc or watch a video of the seed rocket at www.londonderrysentinel.co.uk, follow it at twitter.com/rhsschools #RocketScience or Facebook facebook.com/rhsschoolgardening.